December 15 - A child-welfare check in East Quincy last week led to the discovery of an injured and starved 9-year-old girl, and later to the bodies of two young children stashed in a Redding storage unit.
The girl's guardian, 39-year-old Tami Joy Huntsman, and her 17-year-old boyfriend, Gonzalo Curiel, both of Salinas, were arrested in Quincy on Friday evening, Dec. 11. They were apprehended after the injured girl was found in a locked vehicle near the corner of East Main and First streets.
After intensive questioning by law-enforcement officers, Curiel reportedly told officers where the two younger children (a 3-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy) were located.
The dead children were discovered when police broke the lock on a Redding storage unit Sunday evening.
Two older children (12-year-old male and female twins) who were at the East Quincy residence where Huntsman and Curiel were staying with a friend, were immediately placed in foster care in the Yuba City area.
Investigators from Plumas County, Monterey County and the Redding Police Department were still working to piece together the grisly case Tuesday morning. Sheriff Greg Hagwood said members of his staff and Plumas District Hospital staffers who treated the injured 9-year-old were emotionally affected.
"This has shaken my staff to the core," Hagwood said. "That little girl had been subjected to the most unspeakable measure of torture for an extended period of time. This is child abuse, the likes of which we haven't experienced here (in Plumas County).
Hagwood said the girl's condition was extremely bad when she was found on the floorboard of a locked Toyota 4-Runner. He said she weighed about 40 pounds, had broken bones in her shoulder, broken fingers, a dislocated jaw, and teeth that were missing or loose. She reportedly had open sores and was infested with lice.
The girl was taken to PDH and then transferred by ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center where she underwent five hours of surgery on Sunday. Her condition was not available Tuesday,
Huntsman and Curiel reportedly moved from Salinas to East Quincy on Dec. 7. They were staying with a friend and neither the girl nor the twins were enrolled in school.
Huntsman is reportedly the biological mother of the twins. She is the 9-year-old girl's aunt, but reportedly became her guardian after the girl's mother died two years ago.
After contacting a Huntsman family member in Salinas, investigators were told two younger children were not accounted for. It was unclear if those children were related to Huntsman.
Investigators questioned Huntsman about the missing children, but she was not cooperative. They also questioned Curiel, who was being held at the Butte County Juvenile Detention Center.
That's when Curiel reportedly pointed authorities toward the Redding storage unit.
Redding police went to the storage facility and cut the lock off the door of a unit Huntsman had been renting since Dec. 4.
Police found the two young bodies stuffed into plastic tote containers. The children's identities and the cause of their deaths haven't been reported.
Huntsman and Curiel are expected to face murder charges in Shasta County. They were arraigned on felony charges of torture, child abuse and mayhem in Plumas County Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon. They are being held on $1 million bail.
Although legally a minor, Curiel is being charged as an adult in Plumas County.
A felony torture conviction carries a possible sentence of life in prison.
Huntsman is reportedly the sister of Wayne Huntsman, the Santa Cruz man who was indicted for starting the massive King Fire in Eldorado County last year. Wayne Huntsman has a criminal history that reportedly includes a burglary in Plumas County.
The Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center has established a fund for the 9-year-old girl. Click here for more details.